December 26th, 2008
06:55 PM ET
13 years ago

Bush loses book race for third straight year, says Rove

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Rove bested Bush’s book total for a third straight year."](CNN) - He wasn’t on the ballot this year, but President Bush still lost – to Karl Rove.

For the third consecutive year, Rove has bested Bush in their annual reading contest, the former presidential advisor writes in today’s Wall Street Journal.

The president's reading list this year was weighted towards historical chronicles of conflict, from David Halberstam's "The Coldest Winter" and Rick Atkinson's "Day of Battle" to Stephen W. Sears's "Gettysburg" and James M. McPherson's "Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief."

It also included President Grant's "Personal Memoirs," Jon Meacham's "American Lion," James M. McPherson's "Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief" and Jacobo Timerman's "Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number."

The contest began when Rove made a New Year’s resolution to finish a book a week in 2006. “The competition soon spun out of control. We kept track not just of books read, but also the number of pages and later the combined size of each book's pages - its ‘Total Lateral Area,’” writes Rove.

“At year's end, I defeated the president, 110 books to 95. My trophy looks suspiciously like those given out at junior bowling finals. The president lamely insisted he'd lost because he'd been busy as Leader of the Free World.”

That year’s contest drew headlines over the lengthy list of Bush's books, which reportedly Andrew Roberts’s "History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900," Nathaniel Philbrick’s "Mayflower," and Albert Camus’s "The Stranger," according to Rove.

Bush’s total has dropped each year, says his former advisor: from 95 books in 2006, to 51 in 2007, to just 40 in 2008, with less than a week to go until the end of the year.

Filed under: Karl Rove • Popular Posts • President Bush
soundoff (287 Responses)
  1. Always Wondered

    Has anyone else ever wondered which of Bush's cronies from college and named to his Cabinet was the one who got him his 'C' average?

    December 26, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  2. Jamsmith

    Bush kept us safe? Just because we send Americans to die in Iraq an Afganistan doesn't mean Americans are not getting killed. That was what they wanted – for us to send Americans over there to get killed. But if the makes you feel better, then by al means, give praise to Bush.

    Truthfully, America is safer because of the people of the United States of America. Now if Bush's actions had crushed al Queda, then the boast would be valid.

    December 26, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  3. daisyInAtlanta

    you people are all very articulate and witty.

    December 26, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  4. ken

    hahahahaha....bush, the intellectual. what propaganda bs.

    December 26, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  5. Nathin

    I am obviously not the President of the United States, but as someone who works for a living, has children, and does not have a Chief of Staff and other aides, I barely have enough time to read 12 books a year much less 95 to 110. Karl Rove should have gone to prison for leaking the identity of a CIA operative to the press. A stunt like that, just to damage someone's credibility for criticizing the administration's unjust and unfounded reasons for going to war in Iraq, could have breached national security. If justice had been served, Rove could have achieved a personal best of 200+ books per year behind bars.

    December 26, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  6. oac

    Enough is enough for Rove. Americans are tired of Rove, as he has nothing to offer!

    December 26, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  7. Jimmy

    No, Alicia, that logic won't work. Logic doesn't work with the Bush Lovers on this post. Note: I am not calling out Conservatives, as many are my friends, and, in fact, I share many economic views with them. This is about those who refuse to acknowledge the Bush adminstration's poor decisions.

    In fact, Alicia, you can expect that the recession will be blames on Clinton's presidency (8 YEARS AGO!!!!) and the attacks will be blamed on Clinton admin's failed infrastructure! Ha!

    Please remind us all of the CIA's special memos to the adminstration about eminent attacks! Please tell me that if Clinton's admin/Congress advocated failed economic and lending policies, that a new admin could have figured that out in 8 YEARS! 8 YEARS! There's no excuse.

    Concerning the story, I may carry a full 18 credit med school load, but I don't see how it's possible that I could EVER read 1-2 historical works per week–let alone run a country and do it! That's BS, Karl, but I will be the first to admit–you are the best at what you do.

    December 26, 2008 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  8. Jason W.

    For all of you haters of Bush out there, here's one for you: How do you think a JUNIOR Senator, with only around 2 years of service, became eligible to run for President? How do you think he got his seat in Illionois? Change? I don't think so–the only change we'll ever see in the White House these next 4 years, is the color of the skin of our next president. He has reportedly even paid more money for his inauguration bible than any president before him too. There's change for you. And Hillary? Come on man, where is the change? NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!!

    Bush has done a great job, some say even an excellent job as President, and I believe the history books will agree with me in years to come. Had it NOT been for President Bush, the economy recession would have happened his very first term, but he held our economy together longer than it should have been elsewise.

    December 27, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  9. SDN

    I read a good bit myself – in what spare time I can find. The Fall of Rome, The Dark Side, Colin Powell, Voyager Out, Brainless, The History of the Blues, Desert Queen, The End of Iraq, Two Years Before the Mast being the latest few. I suppose I've revealed the Liberal, Left Wing, Intellectual leanings of those of us that believe in a diversity of interest, thought and perspective.

    Bush has been a great President? He, Cheney, Addington and several others may well end up being convicted of war crimes after they lose the power to corrupt and intimidate. They have insulted, demeaned and disgraced our Constitution in a ways that are almost unimaginable. If justice is eventually served to the world community, they may well be exposed, indicted and convicted for what they've done to our country, our Constitution, our international reputation and our economy.

    Those of us that apparently compose the, uh, "ungramattical" 80% of Americans that think the reign of King George II is a disgrace may well be mistaken – perhaps we simply can't tell the difference between the lackies, the criminals and the fools that have had control of our nation for the past eight years.

    How many years, or generations, will it take to repair the damage this group of egomanics have managed to inflict?

    December 27, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  10. Always Wondered

    The only credit Bush gets for keeping this country safe, was by leaving American troops in harms way as bait in a war he lied about to get us into for profit. One where he IGNORED his generals, his commanders on the ground, when they asked for more troops from '03 until Republicans lost the mid term elections '06. Then and only then did he comply with that request. Surge my Democratic icon! George W. Bush ensured a lengthy war keeping the troop count low until '07. It allowed insurgents of all stripes to pour across Iraq's borders and get good and dug in. Longer war, more profit. George Bush & Co. conspired to steal two elections in order to INVADE Iraq to start this war for PROFIT. If you people had only paid attention. Bush should be having to retire with his war profits in Saudi Arabia with his friends instead of in Texas. I've always wondered, if only you'd paid attention! My God! Dear God, If only they'd paid attention!

    December 27, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  11. Marci

    Let's see:
    *Rove attempted to steal yet another election for Bush and Co.,
    *Bush could have thwarted the 9-11 attacks but didn't even try,
    *Bush let the real 9-11 leaders get away because he wanted to invade Iraq, which he was able to do because he and his bunch told one lie after another, including that everyone in the world believed Sadam had WMDs,
    *Bush allowed the war to be poorly planned by Rumsfeld instead of listening to military who spoke truth to power and paid for it with their careers.
    *Bush was aware of state governors attempting, with state banking directors, to put a stop to the mortgage mess, but instead of helping, he used a law from the Civil War to keep the states from protecting their citizens....

    In other words, Bush was at least partially responsible for the deaths on 9-11, for even more military deaths and maimings, and even MORE Iraqi deaths and maimings; also for much of the current financial mess.......

    But it's so cute that he and Karl have this little book-reading contest.

    Don't you think that you should change your 'Greatest name in news' ??? I do.


    S H A M E O N Y O U ! ! !
    You owe REAL NEWS and TRUTH to Americans!

    December 27, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  12. Wayne

    After perusing all these comments, heading back in time as it were, I reach the bottom of the page and see the only one that should have been posted at all. Many thanks to David for point out that "this isn't newsworthy." To be fair though, in his own eyes Rove is simply still doing his job. A job which, at this point, appears to be following the coattails of Oliver Stone by trying to get us to "identify with" or "feel sympathy" for the outgoing President Bush. Personally, I DO feel sympathy for and can actually identify with Mr. Bush. When life hands you lemons, some people make lemonade...most others are left juggling incessantly until they all hit the ground. So maybe he wasn't the best man for the job...but...who is? You never know how cold the water is until you actually jump in.

    And remember, no matter what religion you fancy...

    Love is Peace....Peace is Love. There is no longer room for hate.

    December 27, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
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